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Revenge and a Road Trip | Preds

Hi again, Everyone,

Deb here in the zone again, bringing you the latest from Nashville Predators hockey. The highs and lows in Smashville continued this week as our team struggled at times and showed moments of brilliance at times….Whew!

It was a huge night at Bridgestone Arena on Saturday as the Preds hosted the Anaheim Ducks on “Hockey Fights Cancer” night…a cause that is very special to me personally as well as so many others who are touched by this disease. A rematch with this Western Conference opponent from earlier this season, the Preds wanted to turn the tables from the loss they were handed, and that is exactly what they did…..and in a big way! The 1st period saw special teams being showcased, as has been the case numerous times so far this season. There were power plays and penalty kills galore….but no goals. Then with 2.4 seconds remaining, Ryan Ellis found perfect position in front of the Ducks’ net and rattled the strings to give Nashville a 1-0 lead. The 2nd period started off eventfully, and remained so, as P.K. Subban was called for a high-sticking penalty that became a double-minor due to a slight injury to a Ducks’ player, so the Preds had four minutes to kill off rather than two. Pekka Rinne in the net made a brilliant save early on, and the penalty kill unit held strong. James “the Real Deal” Neal scored immediately off of a face-off, Colton Sissons found the back of the Ducks’ net on a short-handed goal, and Filip Forsberg got on the board with his first goal of the season giving the Predators a commanding 4-0 lead, which held until intermission. It was a sensational period for the Preds….clearly one of the best in any game so far. The 3rd period continued to be all Predators, when Neal scored his second goal of the game about 6 minutes in to extend the Nashville lead to 5-0. With no other scoring, the guys in gold took the game AND revenge from the 6-1 trouncing they took from Anaheim earlier. Pekka got the shut-out win….(love him!!!)…and the Preds brought their record on home ice to 5-1-1….not too shabby!

On Tuesday night, the Predators were back on the road in Toronto at the Air Canada Center taking on the Maple Leafs. The bad news was that they were without their #1 net-minder, Pekka Rinne, who was out day-to-day with a lower body injury. Marek Mazanec got the start for the Preds, and allowed a Toronto score only about a minute in and then another at about the 14 minute mark, putting the Maple Leafs out ahead 2-0. The Predators did get on the board with about 2 minutes left in the opening period on a goal by James Neal, (his fifth consecutive game scoring) ending the period 2-1. Special teams took over in the second period with several power plays but no score. The Leafs got another puck past Mazanec about midway through…..3-1. But the Preds drew to within one, with a goal by Viktor Arvidsson, and the 2nd period concluded with Toronto leading 3-2. Unfortunately, the Maple Leafs broke things open in the final period. Maz struggled badly as Toronto scored two more goals, including James Van Riemsdyk’s third of the game, giving him the elusive “hat trick” and making the score 5-2….GRRR! Yet another puck got by Maz, extending the Toronto lead to 6-2 only a couple of minutes later——someone stop the bleeding! Toronto held onto that lead to win the game 6-2. Nashville clearly gave up way too many goals, and struggled to get anything going on offense as well. Not a stellar game for our Preds.

The road trip continued on Thursday night with the second outing of the season against the Ottawa Senators in a game that would make Predators’ fans smile from ear to ear. Pre-game, Captain Mike Fisher, who was drafted by the Senators back in 1998, was honored by his former team with a jersey denoting his joining the “1000th Game Club” and the 675 games he played as a Senator before coming to the Predators……pretty classy!!! Pekka Rinne was back in goal for the Preds…yay! The scoring began with Colton Sissons finding the Ottawa net. But the Senators responded with a goal over the shoulder of Rinne to tie the score at one each. Ryan Ellis rocketed one in before the intermission to give the Preds a 2-1 lead. The 2nd period was a flurry of special teams play as both Nashville and Ottawa made reciprocating visits to the penalty box. Finally with less than three minutes to play in the period, Pontus Aberg scored his first NHL goal ever to extend the Predators’ lead to 3-1……(atta boy, Pontus)! More penalties continued into the 3rd period, but there was no score until James Neal kept his scoring streak alive (6 consecutive games of scoring for him) by lighting the lamp with just under 10 minutes remaining. Shortly after, Mike Ribero got one past the Sens’ goalie to give the Preds a commanding 5-1 lead and sealing the Nashville victory. The Predators seemed to find themselves in this game, playing solid hockey all around and making a much improved showing from the one on Tuesday night in Toronto.

One never knows what to expect from teams in any sport. To my thinking, this is especially true of hockey and of the Predators. The glimpses of stellar play that we see when our guys are clicking, make us stagger through the low points of play and come back each game wanting more. See ya next week.

Go, Preds!

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